Endorsed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 1991, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya or “Ayutthaya” is known as a remarkable gastro-tourism destination for all ages – due to its perfect blend of old glamour and new charm, with a diverse range of local attractions to cater to all interests.
And only just a little more than an hour’s car drive away from Bangkok, you are teleported back in time to witness the once largest and most cosmopolitan urban area in the world.
What to eat once you are in Ayutthaya? Locals often seek delicious grubs like grilled prawns (that often are no longer from Ayutthaya) to historic flavours using the finest that the old capital has to offer, to chic cafes brewing innovative beverages, topped with the province’s famous cotton candy.
Here are 10 delectable and affordable eateries that our MICHELIN Inspectors love and awarded a Bib Gourmand recognition in the latest MICHELIN Guide Thailand 2022 with Ayutthaya as the latest city addition that you shouldn’t miss!
Here at this blue-roofed local favourite they prove there’s more to Ayutthaya than grilled river prawns. Ingredients are carefully selected from produce grown within the community and it uses fish from nearby rivers as the catch of the day. The herb-scented fish cakes are delectable, while stir-fried Chinese kale with deep fried salted fish is equally impressive and offers a pleasant balance of flavour. Portion sizes are generous, so check before ordering.
Address: 112/941 Asian Highway 1 (Bang Pa in-Nakorn Sawan), Khan Ham, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. Tel. +66 8 9764 5119
Baan Ton Sai
Named after the banyan tree (ton sai) in the backyard, this local favourite offers tasty Thai-Chinese food at wallet-friendly prices. The chef uses fresh, quality ingredients to create dishes infused with herbs and spices. Tom yum with catfish and crispy pork with salt and chilli are standouts. Choose from two dining areas – one inside the traditional Thai house and the other under the open-air pavilion – and arrive early if you haven’t booked as it can get busy.
Address: 189 Pratu Chai, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. Tel. +66 3 5323 969
Here Kae Pork Satay
Now run by the third generation grill master, this humble shophouse is over nine decades old and is one of Ayutthaya’s most beloved spots for charcoal-grilled pork satay. The skewered meat is well marinated and aromatic from the nine spices used. Do try the pork offal – it’s perfect with the accompanying peanut sauce.
Address: Pamaprao Road, Ho Rattanachai, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. Tel. +66 81 780 9067
There’s a reason why this unpretentious-looking restaurant has been highly regarded among Thailand’s food connoisseurs for over eight decades: it serves appetising local river prawns and fish cooked using old-school techniques. Among their best dishes are fried river prawns with salt and spicy grilled river prawn salad, thanks to the impressive flavours, textures and aromas. A history-filled conversation with the owner is equally delightful.
Address: Prasoet Som Road, Sena, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. Tel. +66 8 6758 7264
The shop’s unofficial but more recognised name, Khaotom Pak Ma (the insulting boiled rice shop), is derived from its owner’s style in greeting customers. To order anything, you’d have to ask him as there’s no menu. Try fried crab meat with garlic and chilli, and Tom Yum with red tail catfish. The seafood here is especially fresh, as the owner visits the market himself.
Address: Rodjana Road, Phai Ling, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. Tel. +66 81 984 4089
Pa Lek Boat Noodles
For more than five decades, this third generation family shop near TOT’s Ayutthaya office has been selling flavourful boat noodles. The highlight is the pork or beef boat noodle soup; the dry Tom Yum-style egg noodles with pork are also recommended. Expect a crowd at lunch.
Address: Bang Lan Road (opposite to Maha That temple), Tha Wasukri, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. Tel. +66 8 9804 7418
Pranom Shredded Chicken Noodles
There are condiments on the table, but there’s no need to adjust the flavour of the shredded chicken noodle soup here on Ayutthaya-Ang Thong Road near Wat Phanom Yong. This shop has two branches; head to this one for breakfast or lunch or to the Hua Ro Market one for dinner.
Address: 47/9 The Building In Front of Panomyong Temple, Ho Rattanachai, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. Tel. +66 8 6615 1644
Roti Sai Mai Abeedeen-Pranom
Much has changed in 70 years, but not at this popular place for roti with candy floss across from Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Hospital. The same family still makes the same flawless plain and pandan rotis with fluffy candy floss they always have. The demand’s the same, too, so lines are common.
Address: Uthong Road, Pratu Chai, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. Tel. +66 8 9005 9948
Roti Sai Mai Mae Pom - Mother Branch
Opened in 1985, this spot selling roti with candy floss in a wooden building near Preedee Thamrong Bridge makes tasty made-to-order plain and sesame rotis with cloud-like candy floss. As they don’t make any rotis in advance, calling in your order and picking up later is recommended.
Address: 51/1 Mu 2, Uthong Road, Ho Rattanachai, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. Tel. +66 8 1485 5108
This riverside restaurant is a great place to stop for lunch after paying respects to the Buddha at Wat Choeng Len. Diners gather here for some of the finest grilled river prawns and authentic Thai dishes. The prawns are large and perfectly grilled over charcoal. Deep fried sheatfish with garlic can be eaten whole as all the parts are crispy. Advance booking of both table and prawns is recommended, especially at the weekend and on holidays.
Address: 1/2 Mu 4, Soi Thetsaban 10, Ratchakham, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. Tel. +66 3 5333 410